Friday, June 29, 2012

Quilting Eye Candy

I've been in a crafty mood lately, and I've finally decided to make a move toward something I've been meaning to try for a while: quilting. Sadly, quilting is not a cheap hobby, so right now I'm just planning and plotting.  A lot of that involves drooling over all the quilting eye candy available out there. (Seriously. I can spend hours just looking, looking, at fabric).  Since this has eaten up a lot of my reading time of late, I decided to compile a list of some of the fun and fabulous quilting books I've obtained via my local library.

The List (in no particular order)
I like my quilting books like I like my cookbooks: a good layout, nice and clear instructions, and pretty pictures. Here's a few books I've especially appreciated as I research (and fixate on) my future quilting practices.

Material Obsession by Kathy Doughty and Sarah Fielke

Obsession is definitely a good term for it (Don't say I didn't warn you). This is a fun book, but don't mistake it for a book for beginners. It has a nice "Quilting Basics" section toward the back, which is useful, especially if you already have a pretty good idea of what's involved in the process.  Mostly, this is a book of projects that range from easy to advanced; the author's do a great job rating the projects, but you have to know a bit about what you're doing to follow along. I really loved the colors and fabric the authors choose for the works they display, and the layout and organization of the projects are user friendly. Favorite patterns: Gypsy Squares (p 20), Ginger Snap (p 140), and Strawberry Fields (p 146).

Layer Cake, Jelly Roll, and Charm Quilts by Pam and Nicky Lintott

Okay, so when I first started looking into the quilting process terms like "Layer Cake" and "Jelly Roll" had me seriously confused. But I get it now, fabric is just as addictive as sweets (for me, anyway), so the cake-like names seem fitting.  I really like this book.  It's layout is nice, instructions are clear and relatively easy to follow, and the patterns and fabrics are lovely.  I like the premise of providing patterns based on the popular precut fabric packs, and the "recipes" make it exactly clear how much fabric you need (yes, quilting requires math. Le sigh.).  Favorite patterns: Charming Flowers (p 8), Hidden Stars (p 42), and Damask Rose (p 48).

The Practical Guide to Patchwork by Elizabeth Hartman

I found this book extremely beginner friendly; it's chock full of clear pictures, easy to follow diagrams, and instructions that are clear and highly detailed (great for beginners).  The first 44 pages are filled by information on the basics of quilting, plenty to start getting you acquainted. As with most of the books on this list, I love the choices in color and pattern and the way these choices interplay with the designs.  The book includes 12 projects in a modern aesthetic (I typically lean away from modern, but the book is great), each of which includes two alternate ideas and sorted by your level of beginnerhood (it's a word now).  Favorite patterns: Small plates (p 56), Planetarium (p 82), and Superstar (p 104 and includes picture of gato).

Scrap Republic by Emily Cier

This book really appeals to my thrifty sensibility because it's designed to use up the scraps of fabric that are the inevitable result of other quilting projects.  The author recommends sorting scraps by color, since the size of the piecing makes color the aspect of a fabric with the most impact.  I love the versatility of some of these designs; I can see how you could either follow along exactly or get creative and do you own version while following the basic pattern.  Favorite patterns: Slices (p 28), Volume (p 34), and Pivot (p 51).

And believe me, this is the tip of the iceburg.  There are so many great quilting books out there for both beginner and experienced quilters. Explore! Find the books that suit your learning style and aesthetics.

I have discovered that quilters are often bloggers, too.  This is great news for me, since the blog is one of my favorite formats. I've found lots of nifty things to help me get started on my quilting journey.  Here's a few blogs from the authors above and some that I just like:


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